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The History of Power Rangers is a web series created by Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall as a fun side project. Being an older fan, he decided to review each season of Power Rangers and break down the elements of the story. It isn't a video review in the same style as most others on Channel Awesome, but largely Linkara doing a voiceover of the footage while pointing out elements and features he feels are noteworthy, with the occasional Fun with Subtitles or messing with the conventions of the format. The videos have grown in running time due to how complicated the series became later on (as well as his lack of familiarity with later series going in), but even pushing 1 ½ hours for some of them. He acknowledges that even with more time, there is likely to be something he forgets to mention.
The video series started in April of 2010 and, partially due to Linkara's own familiarity with the early seasons, the early videos came out fairly regularly. He knows how intimidating the project is and has made it clear (repeatedly) that there is no set schedule for the release of each installment as he also has to worry about his social life, his work on Atop the 4th Wall, conventions and crossovers with fellow reviewers on Channel Awesome (right now we can expect a new video every 3-4 months, though the gap between Dino Thunder and SPD was over 9 months long). And as he has not watched each season when it first aired, most of the later seasons have him reviewing it from a fresh perspective. Taking into account writing notes, selecting clips, editing, and doing the voice work, its a colossal task indeed. But one he does out of a labor of love for the franchise.
One thing is that he is not reviewing the series based on how well it adapts Super Sentai. It would not only require him to watch the Sentai counterpart, but he also feels that any season should be able to stand on its own accord. He does seek to do research on various topics like the origin of the Sentai footage and behind-the-scenes material, but such information is not always reliable and he doesn't use it as hard fact.
The following lists are the tropes he uses in each series review as well as tropes he points out that those series uses.
The History of Power Rangers includes:
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: Linkara's theory for why the Rangers give off sparks when they hit something and why there are explosions behind them after they morph during the team-ups--there's just so much energy being given off.
- Power Rangers RPM would explain this as "clearing out the morphing channels" of excess energy.
- Catch Phrase: "...which makes sense" when a detail, well, makes sense.
- As well as "...for some reason" a few times, when a detail doesn't make sense.
- Also, "I'm sure [villain] will neeeeeeever bother anyone again", for the villains who eventually come back. (He used a variation of this when Trent first appeared in Dino Thunder.)
- He introduces the team-up morphs with, "And, of course, it's time."
- "Which means it's AWESOME!" When describing the various weapons and equipment used by the season du jour's Sixth Ranger, usually a melee weapon that becomes a gun.
- He ends each teaser with a quip and some variation of "Welcome, friends, to [series name]."
- Central Theme: Linkara usually at least tries to discover one of these in each season. The only exception (maybe) is his review of Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
- Cliff Hanger: When the seasons started to have multiple videos he usually ends each one with a bait to force you to continue to the next video, such as a teaser for the yearly team-up to be reviewed or some major shake-up in the story.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: He frequently says in-universe that Bulk and Skull are "the real stars" of Power Rangers' Zordon era.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: He frequently expresses disappointment that the series avoided any such displays of affection (except for Kimberly/Tommy) with some sort of romance happening in nearly every season. Whenever there is some sort of heartfelt confession that should lead to a kiss but never does, he subtitles it "Kiss her you idiot!"
- Oscar Bait: There are particularly well-done moments either comically or dramatically that he lists with an "Oscar Clip" subtitle to indicate their quality.
- Running Gag: Several, including Serpentera's three AA batteries and "This'll neeeeever be brought up/mentioned again".
- Pointing out whenever someone denies the existence of the Power Rangers that there was a full scale alien invasion of Earth thwarted by the Power Rangers.
- The Tag: He ends each video with a particular funny, awesome (Carter Grayson blasting a monster at point-blank range) or moving scene. The most emotional one comes from Power Rangers in Space with a line from Zordon in the early seasons "The world is lucky to have you, and so am I. May the power protect you always."
- The Teaser: He starts off each review with one of the more sillier scenes from that season without any narration, which is acknowledging right from the get-go that there are some things you can expect from Power Rangers.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Mentions several times that having the theme song playing in the background tends to make the moment in question seem much more epic.
- Adults Are Useless: Linkara says that the teens of Angel Grove are the only people to who do anything in this city in his season 2 review, especially during his rant about the baby carriage chase.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The three-person windmill combination used to fend off the Putties in an early episode.
- Growing the Beard: He raves at length about how great the "Green With Evil" 5-parter was.
- Hidden Depths: He mentions during his review of the second season that despite being bullies previously, Bulk and Skull showed admirable traits, pointing out when Bulk immediately gave chase when he saw an out of control baby carriage on his own initiative, and when he and Skull, after having the Rangers foil some of their past attempts at revealing their identities, stood up to a monster to save the heroes.
- Let's See You Do Better: Linkara scoffs at the ridiculous outfits of Zedd's Psycho Rangers (which were basically the Putties' outfits, only colored), stating that he could make a more convincing outfit.
- Anyone who's seen Lord Vyce can tell you this is a fact.
- Magic Versus Science: Discussed and named as the main theme of the first few seasons.
- Moral Dissonance: As Bulk and Skull seek to discover the identities of the Rangers throughout season two, whenever they came close (video footage or plaster casts of their footprints) the Rangers would sabotage their findings. You can't blame them for wanting to keep their secret identities, but at this point they were becoming the bullies.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In his season 2 video, he says that a storyline of Bulk and Skull learning the Rangers' identities and having to cover for them would be great as the duo would get Character Development, having to clean up their messes when the rangers get the glory. A step further would be them finding themselves to be jerks and not doing anything worthwhile with their lives.
- Took a Level In Badass: See Villain Decay
- Villain Decay: He counters the complaints about Lord Zedd becoming ineffectual after marrying Rita by concisely explaining that Zedd had become no more dangerous than Rita, falling into the same rut of every plan. The only partial victory before he married Rita was draining the Green Ranger powers, but after the marriage, they destroyed the Thunder Zords, nearly killed Kimberly, disabled the Ninja Zords, destroyed the Ninja Coins, and even the Command Center.
- X Meets Y: On the look of Lord Zedd, "Just look at this guy--this is what H.R. Giger would create if he wanted to make a supervillain!"
- Informed Ability: The Cogs were supposedly unrelenting and "must be completely dismantled to be defeated", suggesting they were more dangerous than the previous set of Mooks, but they were disabled in basically the same fashion as everything else... punching and kicking them a lot.
- Magic Versus Science: As with the first three seasons of Mighty Morphin, Linkara discusses the effect of this trope here, too. In this case, however, it's been reversed, with the Rangers' powers being more mystical in nature as they fight a technological alien empire.
- The Reveal: Despite early indications of it being someone the Rangers knew, the Gold Ranger ended up being someone nobody knew or had even heard of up to that point (Trey of Triforia), which he admits disappointment over.
- On the other hand, the identity of the guy to take over the Gold Ranger powers being revealed as Jason was praised for being such an unexpected twist.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Goes on a massive rant about every problem Turbo has at the mid-point; the experienced rangers giving their morphers to untested rookies (though arguably the Millennium Message is more the cause of this), Divatox's complete failure as a villain, and the cars coming out of nowhere, he finishes with "and we have a police lieutenant running a frigging juice bar!"
Rita Repulsa: I HAVE A HEADACHE!
- Also, the reasons why he doesn't consider "Scorpion Rain" as canon: "1. The movie was never completed. 2. It wouldn't have answered all of the questions raised. 3. It was not conceived by the at-the-time production team. And 4. It probably wouldn't have been that good anyway."
- Angrish: He was forced to take a brief break to scream in anger when the Rangers were cooked into a pizza. While we never actually see him a Skyward Scream seems likely.
- Bait and Switch: While perhaps not intentional, the way the clips are edited in the teaser, along with the music, makes Turbo seem like a malestrom of epicness, only for Linkara to chime in when it's done:
Linkara: Welcome, one and all, to Power Rangers Turbo...the season that almost ended the franchise.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: His angsty scream after the "cooked into the pizza" incident.
- Replacement Scrappy: With the exception of T.J. he felt that none of the new Rangers were worthy to become Power Rangers, as T.J. was the only one who really embodied what a Ranger should be. Cassie was kind of selfish in the beginning, and Ashley and Carlos had little to no interaction with their predecessors to justify why they were chosen to be Rangers. It didn't help that in his introductory episode, Carlos showed that he had problems with teamwork.
- The Scrappy: He acknowledges the problems inherent with Justin, but found the character himself was well-written: observant, enthusiastic, and overall a valuable member of the team. What he took issue with was the premise itself: that young fans need a kid their own age, because it's impossible for boys to relate to people who aren't their age. This, of course, ignores the fact that fans never seemed to have any problem relating to the "teenagers with attitude" from the first three seasons.
- Linkara was also amused to note that Justin seems like a Marty Stu simply because he was the only character who was actually written competently.
- Seasonal Rot: The prior Ranger seasons had fairly strong themes regarding change, evolution, and victory, but almost from the beginning this season was plagued with a lack of explanation for the new powers, radical changes of characters, a step backward in villain quality, and overall no real theme or direction that the other seasons had.
Linkara: Welcome, one and all, to Power Rangers Turbo...the season that almost ended the franchise.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Linkara considers General Havoc this. He points out that General Havoc is competent, calculating, and took his defeats without whining about them, unlike Divatox, and states that he believes Havoc would've made for a far better Big Bad than her.
- I Am Spartacus: Rarely does Linkara show full scenes seriously, but he features Bulk and Skull's shining moment in its entirety.
- Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: While Linkara wasn't nearly as hateful towards Justin as regular fans, he admitted that "True Blue to the Rescue", Justin's last appearance in the franchise, was an excellent episode showcasing all the good points of the character while also resolving hanging elements from Turbo.
- Win Back the Crowd: Coming after Turbo, he points out that In Space probably had the best story of all Power Rangers seasons.
- Didn't See That Coming: Kendrix's death. Complete with a brief shot of his reaction.
- Evil Virtues: He notes that the season's theme was virtuous villains.
- He's Back: As mentioned directly above, Linkara rarely shows entire scenes, but decides to do so due to the sheer epic of the Psycho Rangers return.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Karone becoming the Pink Ranger was mirrored with Astronema's statement in the previous season "I wouldn't want to be a Power Ranger anyway!"
- Stunned Silence: His response to Kendrix's death.
- Training Montage: Trakeena's training sequence, along with "You're the Best" from The Karate Kid playing, as he said that it was just "begging to be supplied with an 80's song."
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The lady in the Lost Galaxy Crossover: "There is no such thing as monsters," who got the award for "Dumbest Person in Power Rangers EVER".
- Awesome McCoolname: The Omega Megazord, "which is the COOLEST name for a Megazord EVER!"
- Memetic Badass: Carter Grayson. The Tag shows Carter shooting a monster at close range with two BFGs and the resulting explosion takes out a shipping yard, with the subtitle "The Lesson: Don't Screw with Carter Grayson." He refers to this in later videos as well.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Carter's "Thumbs up" victory pose being interrupted by a not quite defeated Bansheera was a deliberate Call Back to Lost Galaxy, when that was the end of the fight.
- Anti-Villain: He discusses fandom's perception of Ransik as this. It's pointed out that Ransik himself was not that sympathetic; he has a sympathetic backstory, but his general actions in the main story were borderline Complete Monster. Most of Ransik's claims of mutant oppression didn't hold up in all the various flashbacks, after being attacked by his own kind and rescued by a human (and repaying said kindness with hatred). Still, he is shown to care for Nadira, and that is what fueled his eventual redemption.
- Hype Backlash: While he thought Time Force itself was a very good series, he didn't find the villain as sympathetic as everyone said.
- The two-parter with the Rangers stuck in movie scenarios also didn't impress him much, including the reference to Vernon Wells' past role in Mad Max. He largely glossed it over, feeling it was just filler.
- It Makes Sense in Context: At Power Morphicon 2010, actor Vernon Wells (who played Time Force Big Bad Ransik) called Lewis a jackass. Turns out it was totally innocuous and meant in jest--Lewis was doing his best to remain low-key and inconspicuous during a panel when his own cameraman pointed him out to everyone. After Wells asked about this, Lewis said he was not making a big deal out of who he (Lewis) was because he did not want to look like a jackass, to which Wells cheerfully replied "Okay, jackass, what's your question?"
- Out of Order: The series made a conscious effort towards strong Character Development, where switching around character-based Filler episodes disrupted Katie's development. One episode had her scared to do anything out of fear of changing the timeline while a later episode had her gleefully changing the past when transported to the early 1900's.
- Shout-Out: Wes and Eric's escape from the clock tower while flying through the clock face and everything behind them blowing up came with "John McClane Eat Your Heart Out."
- Alternative Character Interpretation: He calls Animus, a god in giant robot form, an Eco-Terrorist.
- Continuity Nod: While it serves as a stark contrast to the martial arts used by the other Rangers, he liked how Carter's unmorphed fight scene was largely just shooting the Cogs, as that was what Lightspeed Rescue was all about.
- Critical Backlash: He said that, while inferior to Time Force, Wild Force was nowhere near as bad as the Internet said.
- Hand Wave: Ransik being healed of his mutation made no sense, "But hey, I like a happy ending."
- His answer to how Bulk and Skull were reunited is "SHUT UP AND DON'T QUESTION IT! BULK AND SKULL ARE BACK!"
- It's What I Do: Of a sort. He actively wondered why he got so many people asking if he was going to cover "Forever Red" when such a thing is the very premise of the video series.
- Needs More Love: His general assessment; there are certain things that could be better, but overall, there's a lot to love in this season.
- Tranquil Fury: Linkara starts his review of Wild Force with this while addressing the overly demanding fan base of the series asking for the new episode.
- What Could Have Been: All the possibilities of what became "Forever Red" are outlined.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Similar to Lightspeed Rescue, the first episode suggests that it is a Continuity Reboot unrelated to the past seasons, that Power Rangers were fictional or at most an urban legend. This season is eventually tied in to the rest of the franchise, so it seems like it's skepticism despite all of the monster attacks and alien invasions over the last decade.
- Franchise Original Sin: Of a sort, he mentions his disapproval of Ranger "civilian powers" as it dilutes the need for morphing. But within this season (where the civilian powers started) the premise is of Ninja students and thus having unusual abilities sort of works.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: He interprets Tommy as having been driven to the point of Shell Shocked Senior suffering from a massive identity crisis as a result of his near-decade of fighting evil, identifying himself more as a set of powers than as a person.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He notes the "vision from the future" from the bonus Dino Thunder episode as one for SPD.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He interprets Trent's vision of a superhero as being something like this, explaining that this can be one of the reasons for his refusal to receive help from the other Rangers.
- Informed Ability: Linkara inadvertently demonstrates how the trope can become subjective if handled improperly. Trent's artwork is genuinely good and looks professional, but Haley gushes over them a bit too much.
- He was also rather ambivalent towards Kira's musical talent and supposed "artistry", but also admits that it's probably just his taste in music being different.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Linkara's examination of "Fighting Spirit" really drives it home how important that lesson was to Tommy. Tommy has never given up at any point in his Ranger career, so it may seem like an empty Aesop, but going through several periods of gaining and losing powers may have created a level of existential crisis in that he isn't a hero without his powers. The Green Ranger has also almost always represented either regrets or mistakes as a Ranger, so having that Ranger form be his final confrontation was also very symbolic.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Notes that despite being kind of dull in personality, Gruum is one of the most effective villains in the history of the franchise, distracting the Rangers with attacks in one area so he can steal something somewhere else, not being hesitant to get in the fight himself, controlling a powerful empire that has blown up planets, frequently getting away with his plans scot-free, and having an entire team of rangers join his side by choice.
- Fan Wank: Heavily discussed, since SPD takes place in the future, and all the fan theories on timing and parentage are discussed, as well as an alternate theory that a timescale in Power Rangers is nearly impossible since the B-Squad's parents were apparently working in Time Force to make powers.
- Hero of Another Story: How he views the A-Squad & B-Squad, noting that A-Squad are the best of the best and would normally be the characters the story followed, with B-Squad being the characters this would normally apply to.
- Living Prop: As evidenced by his comments when summing up the Character Development for the season, he (Much like the SPD writers) seems to view Sam/Omega Ranger as this.
"Sam... Has no Character Development. He's a ball of light. Moving on."
- Money, Dear Boy: Praises Broodwing for having this as his motivation, noting that it made a refreshing change to the other villains throughout the series, who have mostly had the same goals of conquering something.
- Personality Powers: Does a very nice, in-depth look at why the Ranger's civilian powers match their personalities.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Discussed extensively with "Kallish-splosions", and how this is actually very much an annoyance for its lack of creating suspense, and makes the Rangers look weak for being sent into the air by explosions behind them, which have logically missed them. Linkara also notes how it makes fight scenes BORING, by focusing on explosions instead of the martial arts of past seasons, making the point that you could splice together any random fight scenes & it would be hard to tell that they weren't from the same fight.